Two heavyweights set to battle in Portland road-course race

The tale of the tape is impressive.

AJ Allmendinger won the rain-drenched NASCAR Xfinity Series‘ inaugural race at Portland International Speedway in 2022.

That was Allmendinger‘s 12th of 17 victories in the series, 11 of which have come on road courses.

Ordinarily, Allmendinger would be an odds-on favorite in Saturday’s Pacific Office Automation 147 (4:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

This year, however, Allmendinger has an equally formidable rival.

MORE: Portland schedule | Xfinity Series standings

His Kaulig Racing teammate and three-time Australian Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen is running a full Xfinity Series schedule, and his road-course prowess is indisputable. Last July, SVG won the inaugural Chicago Street Race in his Cup Series debut.

Neither Allmendinger nor van Gisbergen have won a race this season. Allmendinger is relatively comfortable in his quest for a playoff berth (58 points above the current elimination line), but van Gisbergen is three spots out of the postseason, 34 points behind Anthony Alfredo in the last playoff-eligible position.

A victory for SVG would be the perfect remedy. For Allmendinger, who also won at the 1.97-mile road course in the CART Series, it would ensure his participation in the postseason.

“Always great memories at Portland for so many reasons,” Allmendinger said. “From winning my first IndyCar race there and having a crazy Xfinity race and then being able to win that race.

“It‘s definitely a unique race track when it comes to road courses, but it‘s always a fun event. Hopefully, we can go there and have a smoother race than we did in 2022 but have the same result.”



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